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Roof Rat

Roof rats arrived in North America with the Jamestown colonists in 1607. It’s also known as the black rat or ship rat.

Roof rats are usually dark colored

Weigh less than 1 pound

Large ears

Tail is longer than the head and body

Spindle shaped droppings

90% of their time is spent above ground, hence their name

Roof rats form nests in trees and high points, run on power lines or the tops of fences, or live in attics

Nocturnal, which is why you may hear them scurrying in your attic in the middle of the night

Tend to stick to familiar territory; they are not explorers, they find an area that suits their shelter and food needs and usually don’t venture more than a few hundred feet from there

Roof rats rarely live for more than a year in the wild

During that year, a single adult female can produce more than 40 baby rats

Rarely die naturally but when they do it’s often in a safe place, like your attic, which will create an unpleasant odor

Most will be killed by predators

Commonly small because they breed in such high numbers, which makes so many of them young

When trapping roof rats, it is not uncommon to get a few large ones and a number of small ones, indicating a possible family of roof rats

Traps may need to be prebaited in order to capture shy individuals